UK producers accuse BBC of strong-arm tactics with new iPlayer window | Major Businesses | Business
By continuing to use this site you consent to the use of cookies on your device as described in our privacy policy unless you have disabled them. You can change your cookie settings at any time but parts of our site will not function correctly without them. [Close]
Barely a matter of weeks since UK broadcast regulator Ofcom gave the BBC the regulatory greenlight to make changes to the structure of its iPlayer service, the UK’s production community has accused the public broadcaster of forcing costly alterations to working contracts.
Bodyguard 18Sep2018
The BBC first announced plans to enhance the live, on-demand and catch-up service in November 2018 with the most notable change seeing programmes available for a year after broadcast as standard, compared with the previous 30 days, and with some content available for longer. The final confirmation that the BBC could go ahead with the planned changes was given on 1 August.

However, a row is now brewing among the UK’s independent producers who are claiming that the BBC is not remunerating them fairly for not paying additional fees to host their programmes exclusively on the iPlayer for nine months longer than was the previous case. The producers add that their programmes – such as Bodyguard from World Productions (pictured) which was a massive hit for the BBC and is now available as a Netflix Original — would be worth considerably less in resale terms after re twelve month window had expired.

Talking to the Guardian newspaper, UK independent TV production industry trade body said it has been repeatedly contacted by members reporting that the BBC was trying to get them to sign off on using their shows for longer on the iPlayer without paying more. The paper quoted Pact chief executive John McVay as saying: “The BBC has consistently sought to strong-arm suppliers into giving the BBC these rights for no compensation and without a proper agreement. Pact has warned its members three times since April that the BBC has not yet reached an agreement with Pact.”

Ofcom added that in recognising the financial issue, the BBC needed to compensate producers adequately and that it may have to look to pay a higher price for programming. For its part, The BBC told the Guardian that it was in conversations with Pact and production companies to address any issues caused by keeping content on the iPlayer platform.